Reviving SV Lusty, by JJ Provoyeur.
Action Yachting was established in 1978 to build sailing dinghies like Dabchicks, Sonnets, Fireballs, Tempos to clubs such as Zeekoevlei, Hermanus, Sandvlei’s Imperial Yacht club etc.
It was the time when the Bongers’ dinghy building activities were coming to an end. Things went well for 6 years or so but by 1985 plywood dinghies as mentioned above were losing their appeal due to new activities and products flooding the water sport market. Windsurfing took off, “plastic” boats with their lower maintenance became much more popular so Action Yachting’s offerings stopped selling well.
There was of course a choice to be made in the matter, to switch production to fibreglass and we did make a feeble attempt, but my heart was not in it. I was approached by Jerry Caine, of Robertson and Caine fame to join us and produce in fibreglass, but even this incentive did not change my mind. At the time our factory was in Montague Gardens, and we were sitting with hundreds of sheets of magnificent Bruynzeel Okoume marine plywood, the absolute Rolls Royce of this wonderful material.
So what to do next? I approached Angelo Lavranos to design a 36-footer fast cruiser in the style of the Beneteau First Range which were being imported quite regularly into South Africa at the time, disgruntling our local boat builders somewhat. Angelo had to design the boat using the material I had on hand with a view that she could also be produced in fibreglass. Angelo came up with a lovely plan ticking all the boxes we had requested.
Quite fortuitously, I had just employed Uwe Jaspersen, a freshly qualified and German trained boat builder who had been struggling to find a job within the local boat building industry, something very weird to me at the time, seeing, in my opinion, that they all could have used his expertise.
So Uwe set out to loft the lines on our mezzanine floor and Lusty was becoming a reality! We took close to three years to build her for reasons of economy, working as and when there was time and money available! Once we had turned the Hull over we were approached by Heinz Lindner who was a boat builder from Johannesburg, who asked if he could take a mould off Lusty to be able to produce her in fibreglass. We agreed to the delight of the eventual 23 owners of the production version of Lusty! The model is known as the Atlantis 36. Some of you may know that Uwe is no longer with us and I would like to pay homage to his ability, as Lusty would not have been the same, beautifully built yacht, without his considerable knowledge and skills being involved.
Lusty was eventually launched on 23rd November 1987 and was everything and more than we had hoped for. The only small adjustment we made was adding a bit more weight in the form of a shoe bolted to the bottom of the keel to make her a little stiffer.
I had a huge lot of fun with her with friends and family and interestingly, it was while sailing her on a stunning day that a friend, Mike Roche and I decided we should build a large Catamaran to give the public the opportunity to be able to enjoy this experience also. This was the birth of Le Tigre. Her successor, Tigresse, is still very active at the Waterfront 30 years on.
In 1994 I decided to enter the BOC Challenge, the single-handed race around the world and needed some start-up funds and so I put Lusty on the market. Klaus Schade quickly came forward and bought her, but I made the proviso that should he ever wish to sell her again, I should be given the right of first refusal. Klaus and his family loved and cared for the boat and she was the source of joy for him for 27 years, during which time he participated in virtually every local event and some St. Helena races and then sailing her to Europe around 2011. Lusty has sailed over 40 000 miles already. During this time, I would see Klaus and joke with him that he had better put in his will that Lusty should be offered to me lest he pass on before selling!
Sadly, Klaus passed away quite suddenly last year in August and the executors of his estate wrote to me quoting Clause 4.1 in the will stating that the yacht Lusty should be offered to me first! I did not hesitate very long and committed to the deal.
Lusty was in Preveza, Greece and had been left unattended for two years so I was nervous as to what I would find. Anyway, she was well built, so I considered that whatever it was, she would be OK.
Luckily for me, two friends, Richard Krepelka and Duncan McKechnie were able to come help me with the delivery and preparation and not without some paperwork and technical issues we managed to be on our way to Portugal on the 12th of April. This lovely little yacht carried us safely for the 1600 odd miles to Portimao by the 30th April and for me especially, it was a real special pleasure.
She will now go onto the hard for some months while we give her a complete overall and try to “modernise” her a little, I have a few ideas…